Letter: Poverty and the two-wage family

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The Independent Online
Sir: New Labour has been high on rhetoric about poverty ("Blair's pledge to the dark estates", 3 June). We have heard the statistics before. We wonder what are the solutions.

The tax and benefit systems conspire to discourage working at the lowest levels of earnings. If a typical family receives about pounds 200 per week in social security, an offer of a job of 40 hours a week at pounds 4 per hour, less tax of about pounds 12 per week and expenses connected with working does not seem attractive.

It may be better to change the tax and benefit system than to expect a minimum wage to cover the cost of a family. It is becoming ever more difficult for breadwinners, married or single, to provide for a family. There are many families with no jobs or two jobs and fewer with one job. Society is geared to the two-earner family.

A way must be found to enable breadwinners to support their families. Let us hope Frank Field will provide a concrete approach.


Full Time Mothers

Ingatestone, Essex